BRB, I’m learning these grammar rules for texting!

BRB, I’m learning these grammar rules for texting!
Updated on 17 March 2015

Post written by Hadiyah Dache

Keeping up with grammar rules when you’re texting and tweeting can be difficult. We get it—your characters are limited and you’ve got to keep things brief—but the challenge with typing in shorthand is the risk of getting things lost in translation (and autocorrect misinterpreting what you’re trying to say entirely). Communicating a clear message through texts and tweets can be even trickier now that emoji use is replacing words altogether. We’ve all had our moments when what we thought was a clear, simple text completely confused the person on the other end. Here are a few texting tips to help you get your message across:

1. Use Acronyms Sparingly IMHO IDC. IANAL but LMK JIC.

In my honest opinion (IMHO), I don’t care (IDC). I am not a lawyer (IANAL) but let me know (LMK) just in case (JIC).

If you aren’t a world champion of shorthand, it’s easy to get a little apprehensive at the sight of a string of acronyms. For clarity’s sake, it’s best to stick to 1 or 2 acronyms per text. And usually, if it’s longer than a 4-letter acronym, it may be better to take the extra second to type the phrase out.

2. Know Your Audience You: Can You MM@ Market Street? TIA. (Can you meet me @ Market Street? Thanks in advance.) Them: Huh?

Though we may not realize it, sometimes we can be slightly more conversant in textspeak than the person we’re communicating with. While you and your best friend can seemingly have an entire conversation through a series of shorthand texts, someone you text only periodically may not understand your lingo. If you’ve coined a new acronym, it’s probably best to type the phrase out first and then place the acronym in parentheses.

3. An Emoji Says 1,000 Words The good news: there’s an emoji for just about everything. The bad news: many of us still aren’t sure which emoji means what. For example, the high five emoji is often mistaken for (and used as) praying hands. The difference between the crying, sick, and sweating emoji are so minimal that you probably never noticed there was a distinct emoji for each. And what about the woman with her hand in the air? You may be surprised to learn that she isn’t in the middle of a casual hair flip or raising the roof, but instead she’s assisting you. (Her proper name is “Information Desk Lady”.) Review your emoji with  the Emoji Cheat Sheet to ensure you use the correct one every time. Who knew the emoji with steam coming from its nose actually means “triumph”?

4. Capitalization and Punctuation Still Matter Capitalizing a letter doesn’t limit your character count, so there’s no need to skip this step. With numbers, for clarity and speed, it’s best to use numerals at all times (e.g. I’ll meet you @ 4 vs. I’ll meet you @ four). Also, using proper punctuation will help your reader better understand what you’re trying to convey. Sure, adding that comma may use up an extra character, but it will certainly help avoid confusion and possibly embarrassment.

5. Sentence Fragments Are Okay Going to the movies. Back around 9.

If you leave a word out in a text message response to save some space, it’s okay. Chances are your reader will still understand you. Because text messages are such a direct form of communication, you don’t have to start each response with I’m/I am.

We hope these tips help you out the next time you’re in a pinch and need to send a quick text or tweet. Do you have some text etiquette of your own to share? Leave a comment or tweet us @Grammarly!

Guest blog post by Hadiyah Dache

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